The Merciless series by Danielle Vega has been scaring us senseless since 2014, and we are SO excited to have one last Merciless novel to grace our bookshelves in Summer 2018. The Merciless IV: Last Rites, the fourth book in the scream-worthy cult series combines Stephen King-level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case. So, yeah, we are here for this. Read on for a Q&A with Danielle Vega and then check out the most perfect witchy cover.
Penguin Teen: These covers have taken a journey from hot pink to 90’s goth! Did witchy horror films like The Craft inspire you when you were writing book IV?
Danielle Vega: Yes! Definitely! I was a teenager in the 90s, and a huge fan of THE CRAFT when it first came out (did anyone else try to call the four corners, or was it just me?) When I first saw this cover, I felt like a sixteen year old goth princess again! Or for the first time…I wasn’t really that cool as a teenager (but I wanted to be!)
PT: What has been your favorite thing about writing the Merciless series?
DV: Despite being a lifelong horror fan, I’d never written a horror novel before THE MERCILESS. I’ve loved learning how to make things scarier, upping the creep factor as I go and, in general, learning new techniques and tricks to help the tone of my books feel dark and gritty. It’s surprising, but I think that learning to write scary has helped my writing overall. I definitely pay more attention to word choice now, and how altering small things can change the feel of an entire scene.
PT: How is this book different from other books in the series?
DV: This book was partially inspired by the Amanda Knox murder case. Her documentary came out earlier this year, and I was obsessed. I’m a huge true crime fan (surprise, surprise) and I followed her case when it was first reported, so I was so surprised when it turned out that there really wasn’t that much evidence tying her to the murder, and that the media kind of went bananas with all the Satanic cult theories. And, of course, being the horror novelist that I am, that got me thinking about what the murder might’ve looked like if there had been a cult involved… So that’s where the initial spark for MERCILESS IV: LAST RITES comes from!
PT: What’s next for you after the Merciless series? More horror or a different direction?
DV: Definitely more horror! I’m currently in the early stages of a new series, and I’ve been challenging myself to find new and exciting ways of scaring my readers. But, before that comes out, I have something completely different–a sort of epic, time travel FIREFLY meets DR. WHO story called DARK STARS. Look for that one in early 2019!
And now for the cover!
So gather your coven and start reading this series!
Pre-order your copy of The Merciless IV: Last Rites here!
And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!